14 May 2024

A Thousand Miles from Nowhere

Presenting the Edgar Award for Best Short Story.
Photo by Aslan Chalom.

I returned home after two weeks on the road to find myself hip-deep in unanswered email and facing looming deadlines on several projects. After five days (as I write this), I seem to have the email under control, but the deadlines haven’t changed.

Though I could have taken my laptop with me while I traveled and worked on some of the pending projects, what I like most about getting away is actually getting away. I often find myself refreshed when I return home and ready to dive back into work.

This time was different. I was away from home for a longer period of time than usual, and, though I was neither writing nor editing, I didn’t have much time to relax and rejuvenate. I attended Malice Domestic, visited the venue for this summer’s ShortCon, attended the Edgar Awards Banquet and various receptions affiliated with it, and then was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. So, much of my time was spent surrounded by other writers, and time spent surrounded by my peers—as valuable as it is in so many ways—isn’t relaxing. It’s inspiring and it’s energizing, but it certainly isn’t relaxing.

Temple has a solution. She has us scheduled for a short getaway the weekend before this posts—a quick jaunt to Shreveport, La., to see Dwight Yoakam in concert at the famous Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium where Elvis Presley made both his radio debut and television debut on the Louisiana Hayride. We may also do a bit of sightseeing, and I’ll definitely indulge in some Cajun cuisine.

Email will stack up again, and whatever deadlines I haven’t met prior to leaving will await my return.

But I’ll return relaxed.

* * *


The Premier Conference for
Short Crime Fiction Writers

Alexandria, Virginia
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Join acclaimed crime fiction professionals for an immersive, one-day event and learn how to write short crime fiction, get your stories published, and develop and sustain a long-term career writing short.

Your day will include:

* Three hours of in-depth instruction on how to craft short crime fiction from New York Times bestselling novelist and multiple-award-winning short-fiction author Brendan DuBois

* Insider-look at the world’s leading mystery magazines by Alfred Hitchcock’s and Ellery Queen’s Senior Managing Editor Jackie Sherbow.

* Career lessons from short fiction legend and author of almost thirteen-hundred short stories—Michael Bracken.

* Wrap-up discussion led by short crime fiction rising star Stacy Woodson.

* Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments prepared by Elaine’s Restaurant—Northern Virginia’s literary hub in the heart of Old Town Alexandria.

* In-person networking opportunities created exclusively for short crime fiction writers.

* Literary connections that will last a lifetime.

Learn more and register: https://www.eastcoastcrime.com/#/

* * *

The weeks since I last posted have seen multiple publications: “Four Minutes” appeared in Dark of the Day (Down & Out Books), Kaye George, editor; “The Big Snip” in Tough, April 22, 2024, and “Bermuda Triangle” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May/June 2024.

Additionally, three anthologies I edited or co-edited were published: Notorious in North Texas (North Dallas chapter of Sisters in Crime); the Malice Domestic anthology Mystery Most Devious (Wildside Press), co-edited with John Betancourt and Carla Coupe; and Private Dicks and Disco Balls: Private Eyes in the Dyn-O-Mite Seventies (Down & Out Books).


  1. Cool that you went to the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium. I saw Elvis in concert in 1975 in Macon, Georgia, when I was 14, my first concert! I've been pondering going to the conference in Alexandria. I know it will be a blast.

  2. As always, in awe of your stamina and publications!

  3. Elizabeth Dearborn14 May, 2024 14:33

    If I still lived near Old Town Alexandria I'd try to attend ShortCon!

    The great short story writer Alice Munro just died. I saw this quote in her obituary: "Novelists are failed short story writers. . . ."


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